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The Impact of Culture on Best Practice Production Management - Essay Example

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In the face of intense competition and globalization, organisations realize that to remain competitive it is essential to deliver consistently superior service quality. This can lead to many benefits such as time saving, cost reducing, increased market share and profits (Chen, Chang, Hsu & Yang, 2011). …
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Download file to see previous pages Services industry is the fastest growing segment in the world economy and the biggest challenge is customer satisfaction which depends upon service quality (Bick, Abratt & Moller, 2010). Customer service excellence becomes essential to achieve customer satisfaction which in turn translates into customer loyalty. Organisations are convinced that customer service delivers benefits and hence quality management programmes have been created that relate the service attributes to how customers would evaluate quality (Bolton & Drew, 1991). This implies that people skills are essential for personal and organisational success. Customer service excellence is based on customer insight, segmentation and leadership (CSE, n.d.). Segmentation helps to understand the needs of the customers which differ across cultures. Segmentation is implemented through the process of identifying and differentiating between groups that have similar needs or wants. By focusing on their needs, motivation and choices, the organisation can achieve customer service excellence as they realize that one-size-fit-all approach in not applicable in the service industry. Customer service excellence operates at three distinct levels – as a driver of continuous improvement, as a skills development tool and as an independent validation of achievement. Culture, according to Hofstede, “is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category from another” (Hope & Muhlemann, 2001). It has also been defined as the “software of the mind...” and culture is the way that a group of people solve problems and reconcile dilemmas (Lorenzoni & Lewis, 2004). Moreover, customers from different backgrounds also have differing levels of literacy which influences the evaluation of performance standards (Pizam & Eliss, 1999).Cultural difference cause differences in expectations, goals, values and proposed course of action. Cultural differences impact the belongingness, love and esteem needs of individuals and these principles reverse the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. Subtle cultural differences cannot be ignored as the direct impact can be observed in decisions, outcomes and delivery of service (Korac-Kakabadse & Kouzmin, 1999). To achieve service excellence organisations would have to ensure that employees are adequately trained in the different elements of culture that manifest in many ways. Manifestation of cultural differences can be found in language and communication styles, in expression of emotions and body language, in social customs and eating habits. The deepest and the most ingrained manifestation of culture is the cultural assumptions from which stem the norms and values (Lorenzoni & Lewis, 2004). The most visible manifestation of culture is everyday behavioural standards. Hofstede has identified four different dimensions on which culture can be measured. These include the power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity. Cultures distinguish people in how they behave, maintain relationships and relate to each other in a variety of ways. It also influences the attitude towards time and the attitude towards the environment. All these factors heighten the importance of ensuring that employees are trained in understanding the nuances of different cultural backgrounds before customer service excellence can be expected. The hospitality industry is diverse in nature and each customer is individual in his/her needs and wants. The same customer may have different needs and demands in different situations (Baum & Nickson, 1998). Cultural differences impact the outcome of business because according to Hofstede different cultures imply different mental programming (Gilbert & Tsao, 2000). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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